Mike Myers and Beth Aala’s debut feature charts the remarkable career of one of the music industry’s most influential and beloved characters and perhaps the most famous person you’ve never heard of, Hollywood agent Shep Gordon.
The viewer is briskly whisked through this most gregarious of characters’ scarcely believable 50-year career in show business, which began with a fortuitous encounter with Janis Joplin in 1968 and led to him orchestrating some of Alice Cooper’s most outrageous publicity stunts.
Eloquently described by Sylvester Stallone – one of the countless Hollywood heavyweight contributors to the film that also includes Michael Douglas, Steven Tyler, Tom Arnold and Willie Nelson – as having “the charisma of Elvis” and “the wit of Mark Twain”, we learn that the loquacious Gordon used to date Sharon Stone, shared joint custody with Cary Grant’s cat and supplied drugs to Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Harry Nilsson. He managed an eclectic array of stars as varied as the aforementioned Alice Cooper, Blondie, Pink Floyd, Raquel Welch, Frankie Valli, Luther Vandross and Groucho Marx, and once brewed Tibetan yak butter tea for his friend, the Dalai Lama.
The sinister and less palatable edges of a notoriously cutthroat industry are marginalised during a film that unapologetically focuses on the sunnier side of sex drugs and rock n roll, and it is at its best when the effortlessly affable Gordon is graciously recounting his indiscrete anecdotes about his A-List buddies with carefree candour.
At times, the film is prone to mawkish sentimentality and but for the main protagonist’s loveable demeanour, the film would be too schmaltzy and one dimensional, yet in its defence, this never purports to be a profound, investigative piece of filmmaking. Aside from the eponymous title which includes a Yiddish word that means a man of honour and integrity, the tone of this breezy documentary is established early on, when Myers unabashedly proclaims Gordon to be “one of the nicest human beings I have ever met”.
Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon is a hugely enjoyable and affectionate retrospective of a palpably loveable and charismatic raconteur with an insatiable vitality for life.